Sony is set to be a major beneficiary following the death Michael Jackson, the 13-time Grammy-winning musician and internationally known cultural icon, who died in Los Angeles last night.
His death is set to see tens of millions of dollars pour into his estate as consumers pour into retail stores to buy his music. Both iTunes and eBay have reported record sales today of anything linked to Michael Jackson.
In New Zealand, record stores have reported record sales of Michael Jackson music with many already running out of stock. Australian record stores have been rushed for any Jackson CD, DVDs and memorabillia in the wake of his sudden death.
And Jackson’s albums and songs have soared up the iTunes chart for the first time in years.
Music industry insiders have compared the phenomenon to sales of Elvis Presley’s and John Lennon’s music after they died. Sony is expected to work furiously this weekend to produce hundreds of thousands of copies of Jackson’s catalogue.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” JB HiFi’s national music buyer Derek Durrant said.
“People rushed out and bought everything we had within a few hours of his death. The reaction has been the strongest I’ve ever seen in similar circumstances.
“People just want to buy whatever is available from Michael Jackson, from Jackson 5 to the solo material to the DVDs.
“We’ve always had reasonable stocks of his material as it’s always sold strongly, but there’s nothing left.”
Jackson could posthumously top the charts in Australia this week, with most local music retailers selling out of Jackson’s albums and DVDs hours after his death was announced on Friday.
Music insiders have compared the sales boost to the same rush generated by the deaths of John Lennon and Elvis Presley.
Nat Moss from JB Hi-Fi’s Bondi store in Sydney said customers were now on a waiting list to buy Jackson’s music.
“We’ve been sold out since before lunchtime on the first day,” she said. “All sorts of people are buying them, but a lot of middle-aged women.
“We’re completely out of all his concert DVDs and all the Jackson 5.” However, Jackson’s expected rise to the top of the Aussie charts won’t be known until July 6, when the official ARIA charts for sales during the week of his death are released.
Sony is said to be planning the release of new DVD’s as well as music videos and compile albums of all his recordings this week with the Company now pressing new DVD’s and CD’s to go on sale in time for his funeral.
Last year Sony sought protection on their borrowings to Jackson who has a 50/50 joint venture interest in Sony/ATV which is music catalogue company. Shortly after his string of early 1980s hits that included Thriller, one of the best-selling albums of all time, Jackson was advised to buy the Beatles catalogue for $47 million. Ten years later, Jackson merged his music company with Sony’s music publishing arm in a deal reportedly worth $90 million to him.
Michael Jackson, the one time child star whose string of hit songs got people rocking, died suddenly on June 25 after being rushed to UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles in a coma.
Although he sold hundreds of millions of records, Jackson’s biggest financial hit prior to his death was his 50% interest in Sony/ATV. Now Sony who own the rights to Jackson albums like Thriller is set to net millions from his death.
Recently, according to Fortune Magazine, Thomas Barrack, the founder of the Los Angeles real estate investment firm Colony Capital, purchased Jackson’s Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., for $22 million, just before the property was sold at auction to cover back debts.
Barrack also brought in Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who was helping finance a comeback for the singer. Jackson was scheduled to play a series of 50 concerts at London’s O2 Arena, which Anschutz owns. The concerts, for which Jackson was to be paid $1 million per night, were to begin July 13.
According to BusinessWeek, at one point the star owed more than US$270 million to Bank of America. In 2005, the bank sold that debt at a discount to the private equity firm Fortress Investment Group. Jackson, who reportedly spent as much as $30 million a year during the good times on clothes, travel, and toys for his ranch, successfully fought an attempt to auction many of his personal possessions earlier this year. Over the years, those suing Jackson for past-due bills included his former publicist, video director, attorney, and financial advisers.
Jackson’s half interest in Sony/ATV, a company that owns the publishing rights to thousands of hit songs by everyone from Neil Diamond to Lady Gaga, has been estimated to be worth as much as $500 million. The artist’s money troubles stemmed from a fast-spending lifestyle–he owned a $50 million Southern California ranch and holed up in $10,000-per-night suites at the Four Seasons–as well as the mammoth legal cost of defending himself after he was accused twice of molestation.
Neither the police nor paramedics have specified if anyone was with Jackson at the time of his collapse, but according to Jackson’s brother Jermaine, Jackson’s personal physician had tried to resuscitate him at the house. LaToya Jackson, the artist’s sister, ran crying into the hospital after he was pronounced dead, TMZ.com reported.